Baseball Starts Season Strong Behind Offensive Power of Conte; Strong Pitching Keeps Andover Ahead and Secures 6-2 Win

With the bases empty and one out in the bottom of the first, Andover Captain Sam Conte ’07 lined a double to right-center field, bringing the bats to life in Andover’s 6-2 win over Noble & Greenough this Saturday. Conte would come around to score later in the inning, as Andover jump-started its 2007 season in impressive fashion. In front of its home crowd, Andover’s offense wasted no time tin coming alive in Saturday’s game. The team came out smashing, scoring all it would need in the first inning with four runs. Conte’s double in the first was one of his three on Saturday, and the catcher led Andover’s offense, going 4 for 4 in the game. Later in the inning, Conte was knocked in by Joe Smith ’07, to give Andover its first run of the game. With two outs, Andover showed poise, as Peter Casey ’07 and Mike Palermo ’08 brought in three more runs with clutch line drive hits. After batting through the lineup, Andover struck again an inning later in the bottom of the second. Conte instigated the scoring once again, with a deep double to right, and Smith drove him in for the second time for Andover’s fifth run of the game. Andover would score one more run, taking advantage of fielding errors by Nobles. J.R. Santaniello ’08 started the opening day game for Andover. He had a shaky first inning, but he escaped a jam, giving up one earned run and one unearned to the strong Nobles lineup. After Andover’s offense gained the 4-2 lead by the bottom half of the inning, however, Santaniello settled in.“After I found my rhythm and got comfortable, I started to pitch better,” he said. The result was clear, as after the first, Santaniello pitched two scoreless innings. He helped himself get out of a third inning jam by making a terrific play on a sharp grounder to the mound, a hit that would have been a run-scoring single up the middle. Instead, Santaniello got out of the threat unscathed. Andover post-graduate Jack Dilday ’07 took the mound in the fourth, and was lights-out for the next three innings. Dilday did not allow a hit, did not walk a batter, and did not even allow a ball out of the infield. The only Nobles batter to reach was on an error by shortstop Mike Ciummei ’07. With a 6-2 lead, Andover’s John Gardner ’08 came in to close out the game. Nobles attempted a small comeback with two runners on first and second, and one out. Andover thwarted the threat, however, and finished the game just as strong as it entered. Ciummei caught a hard line drive from a Nobles batter at shortstop, and quickly flipped the ball to second baseman Bobby Farnham ‘08 before the runner could get back to second base, completing the game-ending double play. The team hopes to get back onto the field for its second win this Saturday against Bridgeton Academy.